Guest Dinner Table Etiquette – Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts

Table etiquette is crucial for those first impressions.When eating out at a corporate dinner, wedding, or any formal event, it’s crucial to have proper table etiquette as a guest. From the invitation, to the dinner, to even after the dinner, there are many things guests forget to do (and not do) to give a good impression. The table etiquette you present when eating with others reflects on your manners and personality. Having proper dinner table etiquette shows you are polite and respectful towards others. Simple table etiquette includes placing your napkin in your lap, waiting to eat until everyone else is served, excusing yourself from the table, and refraining from making noises, such as slurping, while eating or drinking. A culmination of these manners contributes to how others at the dinner table perceive you as a person.  The following article from GourmetFoodRevolution explains proper dinner table etiquette, what you should and shouldn’t be doing as a guest.

Basic Essentials of Dinner Table Etiquette

The basic principles of proper dinner table etiquette…and how to avoid social embarrassment! Here you will find tips on dinner table etiquette that will help you through any formal or semi formal lunch party or dinner party. The 10 easy DO’s, and 10 easy DON’Ts of good table etiquette!

But first of all, a little general advice on…Simple, Good Manners

Always respond to an invitation within a week of receiving it. Dress according to the recommended (if any) dress code. NEVER attempt to “out dress” the hostess! Be punctual – never more than 10 minutes late. If you wish to bring a guest as your partner, good dinner table etiquette demands that you should always check with the host first. If you are the one hosting the party and a guest of yours arrives with an unexpected friend, be polite & courteous with them, and speak with your inconsiderate guest at another time! It is considered polite to take along a small gift for your host and hostess. Flowers, chocolates or champagne are always appreciated.

Dinner Table Etiquette – the 10 Do’s!

  • Once seated, unfold your napkin and use it for occasionally wiping your lips or fingers. At the end of dinner, leave the napkin tidily on the place setting.
  • It is good dinner table etiquette to serve the lady sitting to the right of the host first, then the other ladies in a clockwise direction, and lastly the gentlemen.
  • Hold the knife and fork with the handles in the palm of the hand, forefinger on top, and thumb underneath.
  • Whilst eating, you may if you wish rest the knife and fork on either side of the plate between mouthfuls. When you have finished eating, place them side by side in the center of the plate.
  • If the food presented to you is not to your liking, it is polite to at least make some attempt to eat a small amount of it. Or at the very least, cut it up a little, and move it around the plate!
  • It is quite acceptable to leave some food to one side of your plate if you feel as though you have eaten enough. On the other hand, don’t attempt to leave your plate so clean that it looks as though you haven’t eaten in days!
  • Desserts may be eaten with both a spoon and fork, or alternatively a fork alone if it is a cake or pastry style sweet.
  • Should a lady wish to be excused for the bathroom, it is polite for the gentlemen to stand up as she leaves the table, sit down again, and then stand once more when she returns.
  • Always make a point of thanking the host and hostess for their hospitality before leaving.
  • It is good dinner table etiquette to send a personal thank you note to the host and hostess shortly afterwards.
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    Dinner Table Etiquette – the 10 Don’ts!

  • NEVER start eating before a signal from the host to do so.
  • Forks should not be turned over unless being used for eating peas, sweetcorn kernels, rice or other similar foods. In which case, it should be transferred to the right hand. However, at a casual buffet, or barbecue it is quite acceptable to eat with just a fork.
  • It is not generally regarded as good dinner table etiquette to use one’s bread for dipping into soups or mopping up sauces.
  • Loud eating noises such as slurping and burping are very impolite. The number one sin of dinner table etiquette!
  • Talking with one’s mouth full is not only unpleasant to watch, but could also lead to choking! Definitely not a good idea!
  • Don’t stretch across the table crossing other guests to reach food, wine or condiments. Instead ask a guest sitting close to pass the item to you.
  • Good dinner table etiquette sometimes involves a degree of diplomacy when it comes to the host’s choice of food and wine! Even if you feel that you can do better, don’t ever offer your criticism. If you feel unable to pay any compliments, at least remain silent on the subject.
  • Picking teeth (unless toothpicks are provided) or licking fingers are very unattractive! The only exception to the latter is when eating meat or poultry on the bone (such as chicken legs or ribs). In which case, a finger bowl should be provided.
  • Drinking too much wine can be very embarrassing! Where a different wine is served with each course, it is quite acceptable to not finish each glass.
  • Don’t forget to make polite conversation with those guests around you. Dinner parties are not just about the food, they are intended to be a sociable occasion!
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    Having good table etiquette is important especially when meeting new people. It takes approximately fifteen meet and greets to change someone’s first impression of you. Your table etiquette strongly reflects how you carry yourself daily. The most important table etiquette is to thank your host. After all, there wouldn’t be a dinner if it wasn’t for them! Thanking your host can be done by simply responding quickly to the invitation, giving your host a small gift to thank them, or writing a thank you note to show you appreciate what they put together. This can go a long way (especially if your host is your boss). During a corporate event, your next promotion may be riding on your table etiquette. The pettiest manners may be the biggest to others.

    Other things to remember when aiming for proper table etiquette is to check the dress code at the restaurant you are attending, ask your host if you can bring a guest, and to double check where and when you are supposed to be eating (being tardy is a huge no-no!).

    For information on dinning at the Ceres Bistro feel free to contact us, we’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

    • erush6

      Tip# 11:
      never work for a boss or socialize with friends who would judge you based on if you used the right fork for salad